|The First Art Newspaper on the Net
||Established in 1996
|| Saturday, February 17, 2018
|South Korea Turning Ex-Army Command into National Museum of Contemporary Art|
Performers wearing lion dance outfits perform in front of Defense Security Command building during the groundbreaking ceremony for a branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. South Korea is trying to make peace with its painful past by turning the command building once allegedly used as a torture center into the museum. AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man.
By: Esther Hong, Associated Press
SEOUL (AP).- For many, the stark structure built by the Japanese and then taken over by South Korea's military is a reminder of a painful colonial past and the torture allegedly overseen there later during decades of authoritarian governments.
But rather than bulldozing the Defense Security Command building, South Korea's capital is trying to make peace with its difficult history by transforming the building into a branch of the National Museum of Contemporary Art.
On Wednesday, the culture minister, Choung Byoung-gug, cut the tape at a groundbreaking ceremony for the museum just east of Gyeongbok Palace. Construction is slated to finish by the end of 2012.
Not everyone is happy.
Kim Byung-jin, 56, says turning the building known as Kimusa into a museum makes light of its violent past. He recalled how in 1983, South Korean interrogators in the building stripped off his clothes, beat him to near-unconsciousness and left him on the cold concrete floor as punishment for fainting after four days of sleep deprivation.
"The site was the epicenter of human rights violations after our country's independence," he told The Associated Press, his voice shaking with rage. "Transforming the building into an art museum is an act of appeasement. I am completely against it."
Some want city officials to demolish the building, as they did in the mid-1990s with the neoclassical colonial headquarters the Japanese built in front of Gyeongbok Palace during their 1910-1945 occupation of Korea.
But after years of debate, officials named the Kimusa building a national cultural property in 2008. President Lee Myung-bak announced plans to transform it into a museum the following year.
In a city with breakneck development, where old neighborhoods routinely are demolished and replaced with glass and steel high rises, there's been a recent push to preserve Seoul's remaining pockets of history.
In 2002, a courthouse built by the Japanese in 1928 and then used by the South Koreans to house the Supreme Court reopened after extensive restoration as the Seoul Museum of Art.
Crumbling old Seoul Station has also been restored for art exhibitions and performances, following in the footsteps of cities like Berlin and London that have turned empty historical buildings into art spaces.
"It's not just a train station, but the face and gate of Seoul," said Chung Jae-jeong, president of the Northeast Asian History Foundation.
The station, built by the Japanese in 1925, had been closed since Seoul built a new high-speed rail station in 2004.
The Japanese built the three-story Kimusa building in 1928 to serve as an Imperial Army hospital. It occupies a prime location in Seoul, across from the largest of its royal palaces and along a stretch in the trendy Samcheong-dong area that houses some of the city's top art galleries.
The South Korean military took the building over in the 1970s, allegedly torturing scores of people, including students and activists, within its walls during the years of authoritarian rule.
Kim said he was a literature student at Yonsei University when officials accused him of being a communist spy. Detained, interrogated and tortured for three months, he said he confessed to the "nonsensical" charges after agents threatened to send his infant son to an orphanage and his wife into prostitution.
Military interrogators strapped him into a chair, bound his arms and legs and tied electric wires around his fingers, he said.
"The guards then began shooting continuous bolts of electric shock through my entire body," Kim said by telephone from his home in Osaka, Japan. "The electricity pelted through my brain."
South Korea's Defense Ministry denies accusations of brutality, saying torture never took place in the Kimusa building, without elaborating.
There were only hints of the building's alleged violent past during Wednesday's ceremony. Dignitaries spoke of creating a world-class museum and a new Seoul landmark but also of the building's spiritual transformation.
"I would like to express my gratitude and joy as an artist and a citizen in seeing that this site is not being forgotten and buried away with historical traces and scars, but is being reborn as a space of culture and communication," artist Moon Kyung-won said.
Architects plan to preserve part of the building while creating an entirely new complex.
Barry Bergdoll, chief curator of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York and a member of the panel that chose the winning bid for the building's design, called it a brave decision to use a place "contaminated with the memory of political experiences from a period of dictatorship as a museum of contemporary art."
At least one professor of architectural history objects to the plans.
Prof. Kim Jeong-dong of Mokwon University in Daejeon said a modern art museum will clash with Gyeongbok Palace and bring congestion and noise "to an area that should be treated with respect, as it once housed our royal family."
Relics found during the excavation will be kept on the museum grounds, officials said.
"It is a place of terrible tragedy," said museum chief Bae Soon-hoon. "However, to transform the pain and turn it into a place where people can come and enjoy that's a wonderful thing."
Associated Press writer So Yeon Kwon contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.
June 16, 2011
Sotheby's Breaks Auction Record for a Work by Stanley Spencer Twice in Same Sale
Despite Several Setbacks, Dutch National Museum Renovation in Full Swing; to Reopen in 2013
The Courtauld Gallery Presents Toulouse-Lautrec and Jane Avril: Beyond the Moulin Rouge
SCOPE Basel 2011 Returns with Its Cutting Edge Contemporary Art at Historic Kasern
John W. Smith Appointed New Director of Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design
Louvre - DNP Museum Lab Presents Sevres Porcelain, an Art of Living in the 18th Century
Getty Museum Celebrates Italian Anniversary by Showcasing Objects in Its Collection
Credit Suisse Hosts Dinner in Honor of Christian Marclay at Fondation Beyeler in Basel
Table from Historic Irish Estate, Tyrone House, Makes £264,000 at Bonhams Sale
Egypt's Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass Cleared in Appeal, Avoids One Year in Prison
Stanford University to Receive Anderson Collection of 20th-Century American Art
Lady Gaga's "Meat Dress" Installed in Women Who Rock Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Bonhams Appoints Jan Zvelebil as the Company's Representative in The Czech Republic
Rare Centennial Vase and Malcolm Forbes Botanicals Lead $1+ Million Heritage Decorative Arts Auction
Don Presley Presents Fine Estate Antiques Plus Hollywood's Famous Dueling Laugh Machines
British Museum Scoops £100,000 Art Fund Prize for "A History of the World" Project
Historic Welsh Eisteddfod Awards from the 19th Century for Sale at Bonhams Chester
Major Sculpture by Artist Paul Morrison is Gifted to the Walker Art Gallery
Smithsonian Scientists Find Deadly Amphibian Disease in the Last Disease-Free Region of Central America
Cooper-Hewitt Launches "Get Set in Style" Facebook Application
The 3D Animation Art of Blue Sky Studios on View at Norman Rockwell Museum
Photography and Video Exhibition Announced at the Marrakech Art Fair 2011 Cultural Circuit
Rare 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid Roadster Set For RM's Monterey Sale
Toledo Museum of Art Puts Approximately 300 Masterworks from Its Collection Online
Gagosian Gallery's iPad App Launches; Taking Users on an In-Depth Journey
Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí Acquires a Surrealist Painting by the Master from Figueres
Dutch Artist Wins BP Portrait Award 2011 for His 17th Picture of a Life-Long Model
Sotheby's Sale of 19th Century and Old Masters Paintings Achieves Outstanding Results
South Korea Turning Ex-Army Command into National Museum of Contemporary Art
Guercino's Diana the Huntress is Revealed for the First Time in Italy by Fondazione Sorgente Group
Janet Jackson 'Nasty' in the Louvre, with Fab Show to Benefit "Liaisons au Louvre"
Impressive Modern and Contemporary Nude Sale, Presented by artnet Auctions
The Seven Treasures: Exhibition of Cloisonné from the V&A and the Edwin Davies Gift
Newly Rediscovered, Ultra Rare 1870-Cc $20 Gold Coin on the Auction Block
Minister for the Arts George Souris Congratulates Museum of Contemporary Art Director
Most Popular Last Seven Days
1.- The Morgan explores the Medieval world's fascinating approach to the passage of time
2.- Experts discover hidden ancient Maya structures in Guatemala
3.- Egyptian archaeologists unveil tomb of Old Kingdom priestess Hetpet
4.- The Speed Art Museum and Italian Ministry reach loan agreement on ancient calyx-krater
5.- Major exhibition features artistic masterpieces from the glorious Church of the Gesù
6.- From Beowulf to Chaucer, the British Library makes 1,000 years of rich literary history freely available online
7.- Truck damages Peru's ancient Nazca lines
8.- Trish Duebber is new Coordinator of Youth Programs at Boca Raton Museum Art School
9.- Exhibition examines the way art, like language, was used to articulate a rhetoric of exclusion
10.- The Dallas Museum of Art announces gift of three major European works
Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .
|Royalville Communications, Inc|
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.